2015 DO-IT Trailblazers
The DO‑IT Trailblazer award highlights DO‑IT community members who forge new pathways that will benefit others. Through their work and accomplishments they have changed the way the world views people with disabilities and have increased the potential of people with disabilities to succeed in college, careers, and community life. Congratulations to this year’s honorees!
Anna Ewing, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘09 Scholar, is recognized for her work educating others about the experience of living with an unpredictable disability and for her advocacy efforts regarding the education of individuals with disabilities. Anna helped develop Seattle Central College’s disability studies course, the first of its kind in the Seattle College District, and is an enthusiastic instructor for the class. She earned associate’s degrees in early childhood education and special education, with a focus on providing quality education to young students with disabilities; she recently earned her certification as a registered nursing assistant and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied behavioral science.
Kavita Krishnaswamy, a graduate student in computer science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and an AccessComputing team member, is recognized for her accomplishments in the application of robotics to increase the independence of people with disabilities. Kavita’s research in assistive robotics looks at ways that robots can be used by people with disabilities (e.g., increasing independence, facilitating access to events). In the past year, Kavita has pioneered the use of robots to participate in multiple conferences across the country without needing to travel. Through DO-IT projects and beyond, she shared her experiences with others and promoted emerging technologies. Kavita has served on the Maryland Commission on Disabilities, and published multiple papers sharing her innovative views on empowering technologies for people with disabilities. Learn more about her projects and interests at www.csee.umbc.edu/~kavi1/.
Katie Sullivan, DO-IT Mentor, has collaborated with DO-IT in many meaningful ways. She has provided mentoring to DO-IT participants visiting the Microsoft Corporation, engaged in DO-IT’s collaborative Summer Academy for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computer Science, and was featured in an article written by DO-IT staff called “STEM Professionals with Disabilities Talk to Youth About Careers.” Katie is viewed as a trailblazer because she is a successful deaf woman in a field typically dominated by males without disabilities. She graduated from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 2011 with a bachelor’s of science in computer engineering. She works at the Microsoft Corporation, creating new product features, and is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers.
Brandon Muller, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘01 Scholar, is recognized for leadership and dedication to programs that promote the success and full inclusion of youth with disabilities in education and employment. Brandon is a member of the Washington State Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, where he acts as a vice chair on the Youth Leadership Forum Planning Committee. He instructs students at Highline College’s Achieve program, which serves college students with intellectual disabilities, and has helped people with disabilities engage in career development activities and secure meaningful jobs. Brandon received a bachelor of liberal arts degree from The Evergreen State College and master’s of education degree in counseling from the University of Puget Sound. Brandon is known for his sense of humor and his passion for helping all students feel welcome in school.
Dr. Daniela Marghitu, a professor in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Auburn University, is recognized for her contributions to multiple projects that DO-IT directs or co-directs, including AccessComputing, AccessCSForAll, and AccessEngineering. She has developed paid internships for DO-IT participants, facilitated a DO-IT-sponsored capacity-building institute at Auburn University called “Universal Design in Academia,” contributed case studies for the DO-IT searchable Knowledge Base, and presented a session at a DO-IT capacity building institute called “Attracting Girls, Special Needs, Minority, and Underserved Students to STEM Majors and Careers.” She is the founding director of the Auburn University Educational and Assistive Technology Laboratory, the Co-PI and Technology Coordinator of the Alabama Alliance for Students with Disabilities in STEM.
Dr. Jonathan Lazar, professor of computer and information sciences and director of the Undergraduate Program in Information Systems at Towson University, is recognized for enthusiastic engagement within multiple DO-IT projects that include AccessSTEM, AccessComputing, and AccessEngineering and for encouraging others to engage in these projects and contribute their expertise. For example, at a DO-IT capacity building institute, he presented a highly-rated session called “Creating a Faculty Special Interest Group on Disabilities and Accessibility.” Jonathan conducts transformative research and teaches college students about human-computer interaction, accessible web design, user-centered design methods, assistive technology, and public policy. He recently co-authored a book called Ensuring Digital Accessibility Through Process and Policy.
Previous DO‑IT Trailblazer award winners:
Dr. Norm Coombs, chief executive officer of Equal Access to Software and Information, for providing opportunities for others to have access to assistive technology. He pioneered Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT’s) distance learning program, received Zenith’s Master of Innovation award for his uses of distance learning to mainstream students with disabilities, and has co-presented with DO-IT at multiple conferences and workshops.
Myrna Muto, coordinator of Seattle Public Schools counselors, for being an active advocate for high school students with disabilities preparing for college and careers. She has worked with DO-IT to develop and disseminate newsletters, host events, and facilitate trainings and workshops for Seattle Schools educators and staff.
Vincent Martin, AccessComputing team member, for being an active member and mentor on DO-IT’s e-mentoring communities, giving invaluable advice on technical details, complex software/hardware interaction, and accessible technology for postsecondary education.Dr. Kelsey Byers, DO-IT Mentor, for her countless presentations on equal access in academics, fieldwork, governance, student events, and other aspects of campus life, and constant advocacy and presence at DO-IT events. She has been active in the broader UW community, making important contributions on several committees, student groups, and other entities that promote access and inclusion for everyone.
Dr. Bea Awoniyi, long-time DO-IT collaborator, Santa Fe College assistant vice president of Student Affairs, and president elect for the Board of Directors of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), for her work to better serve students and veterans with disabilities, including substantial contributions to DO-IT resources and the AccessCollege project.
Anna Marie Golden, founder and manager of AnnAtycal Web Studio, DO-IT Mentor, and part of the team at UW’s Accessible Technology Services, for outstanding mentoring and her work to increase accessibility on the Internet, including the development of an accessible website for the Deaf-Blind Service Center.
Susan Gjolmesli, director of the Disability Resource Center at Bellevue College, DO-IT Mentor, and project partner, for outstanding advocacy in the promotion of accessible campuses and the development of the Autism Spectrum Navigators Program. She was designated as a Living Treasure at Bellevue College in 2009 and received the Washington State Governor’s Trophy in Memory of Carolyn Blair Brown in 2012.
Michael Richardson, co-director of the Northwest ADA (American with Disabilities Act) Center and DO-IT Mentor, for his relentless advocacy and enthusiasm for the participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of our community.
Katrina Carter, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘98 Scholar, for her advocacy in founding a disability student group at the UW, Bothell; and her work in the National Youth Leadership Network, Think First National Injury Prevention Foundation, National Leadership Conference for Youth with Disabilities, and the Army Corps Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
Wendy Chisholm, DO-IT Mentor, senior Microsoft strategist, and self-described Accessibility Evangelist, for co-editing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and 2.0, which form the basis of most web accessibility policies throughout the world; co-authoring the book Universal Design for Web Applications; and founding Accessibility Camp Seattle.
Dyane Haynes, DO-IT Mentor, DO-IT partner, and director of Disability Resources for students at the UW, for her tireless efforts in sharing disability resources and promoting universal design through capacity-building institutes, as well as her work within DO-IT Admin, DO-IT Prof, DO-IT College, and AccessSTEM projects.
Conrad Reynoldson, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘03 Scholar, for his work to raise disability awareness in the community. He was the first person to use a power wheelchair in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle half marathon, has organized comedy nights to increase the visibility of people with disabilities, completed an internship at Disability Rights Washington, and was a Congressional Intern in Washington, DC.
Laura Bersos, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘04 Scholar, for developing community among DO-IT Scholars and participants. Laura has attended Summer Study every year since she became involved with DO-IT.
Kayla Brown, DO-IT Ambassador, ‘05 Scholar, and DO-IT student staff member, for advocacy work at Bellevue College and nonprofits. She advocates for people with disabilities in Seattle, traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, participated in City Year, and has served on the ATeam leadership group for DO-IT’s AccessSTEM project.
E.A. Draffin, research staff in the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science in the United Kingdom, for promoting accessibility in e-learning, the web, and mobile devices; providing an international database of accessible technology; and supporting students with disabilities to increase accessibility in education, employment, and their daily lives.
Dr. Martha Bosma, associate professor of biology at the UW, for her leadership in the inclusion of people with disabilities in science education and careers, outreach to ensure accessible science labs, and mentoring of DO-IT Scholars in their transition to postsecondary education.
Corinna (Lang) Fale, DO-IT Ambassador and ’00 Scholar, for her work promoting self-advocacy for people with disabilities through her position as co-coordinator of the L.E.A.D. Coalition at the Arc of Snohomish County and as a representative for People First of Washington.
Dr. Sang-Mook Lee, professor of geophysics at Seoul National University, for promoting access to technology, education, and employment for people with disabilities in South Korea.
Noah Seidel, DO-IT Ambassador, ’05 Scholar, and DO-IT student staff member, for his disability advocacy and leadership on the UW campus and in the Seattle community. He has organized disability awareness events and has spoken on numerous panels regarding inclusion, access, and transition to college and careers.
Priscilla Wong, DO-IT Ambassador and ’95 Scholar, for her volunteer work serving people with disabilities at the Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Hospital and ongoing dedication to advocating for accessible programs and environments.
Kim Borowicz, disability rights lawyer at Access Living and DO-IT Mentor, for contributions on a national level to the field of disability law and a commitment to tackling issues of access to transportation, media, and education for people with disabilities.
Loren Mikola, disability inclusion program manager at Microsoft and AccessSTEM team member, for contributions in making Microsoft an inclusive environment for employees with a wide variety of abilities and for promoting the design of accessible technology.
Kris Rosenberg, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘94 Scholar, for contributing to the long-term success of DO-IT’s college preview and technology program at Camp Courage by volunteering his time to provide lab set-up, technology support, instruction, and mentoring.
Jessie Sandoval, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘98 Scholar, for academic achievement and pursuit of a career in disability law.
Chris Schlechty, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘02 Scholar, for academic achievement, pursuit of a career in computing, and mentoring interns with disabilities nationwide in the workplace.
Daman Wandke, DO-IT Ambassador and ‘05 Scholar, for leadership in organizing disability awareness activities on a postsecondary campus.
Al Souma, coordinator of Disability Support Services at Seattle Central Community College and AccessCollege team member, for responding to emerging issues of students with disabilities, including those related to people with mental health impairments and veterans with disabilities.
Dr. Mamoru Iwabuchi, associate professor at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo and assistant director of DO-IT Japan, for promoting DO-IT practices internationally.
Dennis Lang, associate director of the disability studies program at the UW, for promoting the adoption of a disability studies program which now resides in the School of Law. He has also mentored dozens of students pursuing the disability studies minor.
Anthony Arnold, DO‑IT Ambassador and ‘94 Scholar, for significant contributions to the field of augmentative and alternative communication through his advocacy and career, and serving as a powerful role model for the employment of individuals with disabilities that affect both mobility and speech.
Dr. Ray Bowen, while dean of the University of Washington College of Engineering, made contacts at the National Science Foundation in 1992 that led to DO‑IT’s first grant funding. He mentored Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, director and founder of DO‑IT, and facilitated collaborations with the college’s award-winning programs for women and minorities. This created an expanded view of diversity that became a model for other departments and institutions.
Dr. Imke Durre, DO‑IT Mentor, for accomplishments in earning a Ph.D. and pursuing a career in atmospheric sciences, increasing public awareness of the positive contributions of people with disabilities in science fields, and providing a strong role model and mentoring to students with visual impairments.
Julie Peddy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration program manager, for accomplishments in integrating youth with disabilities in service learning programs and promoting the employment of people with disabilities in science fields.
Karen Braitmayer, architect and DO‑IT Mentor, for accomplishments as a business owner and for progressing accessibility efforts within the field of architecture.
Mylene Padolina, Microsoft senior diversity consultant, for accomplishments in the integration of disability in the diversity efforts of businesses and for success in programs encouraging youth to pursue high-tech career fields.
Jessie Shulman, DO‑IT Ambassador and ‘98 Scholar, for accomplishments in increasing access and support on the UW campus and providing a strong role model to students with hidden disabilities.
Dr. Suzanne Weghorst, assistant director for research at the UW Human Interface Technology Lab, for accomplishments in research and for providing numerous opportunities for students with disabilities to explore the field of human interface technology.
Cheri Blauwet, DO‑IT Ambassador, ‘96 Scholar, and Stanford graduate student, for achievements in athletics and academics.
Mike Dedman, education specialist at the National Parks Service, for improving access in the national parks.
Charity Ranger, DO‑IT student staff and UW student, for improving access and support on a postsecondary campus.
Anna Schneider, DO‑IT Ambassador, ‘93 Scholar, artist, businesswoman, and UW graduate, for accomplishments in the combination of fine arts, business, and science.